A Modest Gun Regulation Proposal

A state could require that all guns sold in the state be tested for ballistics and that the ballistics files be kept in a central registry, along with the names and addresses of the seller and purchaser.  The state would nominate the NRA as its trustee to hold the registry, which would be private, and could only be opened for comparison analysis on a warrant issued to a police agency that has obtained ballistics from a crime scene it wishes to match to the registry.

 

This would grow into an effective crime clue generating tool over time, without infringing on any citizen’s 2d A rights.

 

It would reach peak effectiveness when every state adopted the plan and all the unregistered Saturday Night Specials that are on the streets of Baltimore, Chicago, NewOrleans, Philly, etc.,  break down and are replaced by registered guns whose ballistics have been tested.

 

This would not stop crazy shooters or even ordinary criminals.  It would make it easier to track them down after the fact.

 

I think it is a modest proposal, that keeps government out of handling the records, that puts an organization that can be trusted to keep privacy absent a warrant in charge of maintaining the registry.  But it would eventually be useful in catching criminals, and perhaps would cause some persons to think twice before shooting.  Or not.

 

 

 

40 Responses

  1. Why do you think it’s necessary?

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    • I think it is desirable, not “necessary”. And again, the initiative would have to come from a state or states.

      It would eventually give law enforcement better clues onmurder cases. Used to be 90% of murders were families and friends, and now its only about 50%. Used to be you could round up a few likely suspects and figure it out. Now we have random shootings in about five cities that basically run up the national murder rate.

      I first heard part of this proposal from an FBI agent when I was in Boy Scouts in 1955 or 56. Although the FBI wanted the registry to be federal, and that was always going to be a non-starter. Let NRA hold the registry and gun owners will feel more secure that it will not be abused, because it will take a warrant to search the registry for matches.

      The purpose, once again, is to solve crimes with this tool, not prevent them, as such.

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    • Gun death rate in the UK–0.23 per 100,000.

      Gun death rate in the US–10.64 per 100,000.

      Both countries have comparable rates of violent crime and have mixed populations. Having been mugged in the US and in the UK, I’d rather be in the UK. Mainly as I can’t outrun a bullet.

      BB

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      • You were shot during the US mugging?

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      • FB:

        Gun death rate in the UK–0.23 per 100,000.

        Gun death rate in the US–10.64 per 100,000.

        Intentional homicide rate in the UK – 1 per 100,000

        Intentional homicide rate in the US – 4 per 100,000

        This tells me a few things. First, most gun deaths in the US are not of the homicide variety. (Suicide, not muggings, is probably what makes the number as big as it is.) Second, the British seem to have figured out ways of intentionally killing each other even without using guns. Third, the chances of getting murdered in either the US or the UK are, statistically speaking, miniscule (.00004 and .00001 respectively).

        And so to me a preference to be in one place rather than the other simply because of the chances of getting gunned down in a mugging is not a particularly rational preference.

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  2. Maryland tried something like this. It never really got off the ground. Can’t recall why.

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  3. Who should pay for it?

    Can we justify the privacy intrusion when crime rates are at historic lows and firearm ownership are at historic highs? Wouldn’t the money be better spent providing guns to non-gun owners?

    If I get a chance I’ll try to find and put up a graph comparing firearm ownership and crime rates over time.

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  4. Here’s a chart on violent crime vs gun ownership.

    Cue “correlation ain’t causation”.

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    • racist

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    • This is the critical point to me. I have no objection to Mark’s suggestion, or other limitations, registrations, mandatory trainings, or licensings related to firearms. I don’t see any of these abridging second amendment rights or constituting an undue burden (just as I do not see requiring a photo ID to vote as posing an undue burden). But the reasons given seem, ultimately, to be entirely emotional to me. Not remotely data driven.

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      • Kev – this proposal I made does not set up a government database but one administered by NRA, which would have, presumably, an incentive to maintain it just because of the potential for drawing new members.

        It is not emotion driven because it has nothing to do with stopping crime, only solving it. I explained that half of murders today are not committed by the usual suspects of the past, and more of them go unsolved. I also am certain this registry would have little effect on solving crime for many years, because gangs won’t register their guns, even with NRA, if, say, Chicago adopted the proposal. But those guns would break down over time and be replaced by guns that were traceable.

        It is modest because it is only a law enforcement tool, not even an attempt at a social policy change.

        George, I agree completely that there is no correlation between gun ownership in general and crime in general and I am sure that we cannot keep guns out of the hands of the Chicago and Baltimore and New Orleans drug gangs that run up such big murder numbers. I am not trying to limit guns or keep anyone from getting them, I am just trying to get an initial ballistics test on file attached to the name of someone, for murder investigations after the fact.

        Now shotguns would not be touched by this, of course.

        I am convinced it would be very inexpensive to do this, at any level. I think the key is to divorce the Government from the ballistics registry so that it is not a tool for unwarranted intrusion.

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        • If the problem is unsolved gang murders how is a gun ballistics registry going to help? What percentage of guns possessed by gang members are possessed legally or will ever be possessed legally? If the answer is none, then no ballistics registery will provide any benefit whatsoever.

          It’s an idea in search of a problem.

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        • Eventually even gangs will have tested guns if this were enacted. Those Saturday Night specials can’t last forever.

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        • But they will have been acquired illegally, no?

          What good would a ballistics registry do if it can’t be used to trace the gun to the possessor of the weapon?

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        • First link in a chain is better than no lead at all.

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        • What is the benefit of even the “first link” in the crimes you state it will help alleviate?

          These gangs possess these weapons illegally, correct?

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        • Help solve, not help alleviate.

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        • But if the weapons were obtained illegally, of what use is it?

          What is the number of gang murders in the areas of concern for you that are obtained legally?

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        • Only if they buy them legally, and they would know that

          Useless for illegally acquired guns. Counterproductive I’d argue.

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        • The gun enters commerce at some point, legally.

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        • Yes, but do the gang murderers you’re interested obtain your weapons legally? If not, of what value is this ballistics registery?

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        • If the new gun [not one already out there] enters commerce, then is used in a crime, probably within a few years of having entered commerce, investigators will have a starting point with the first sale. The first buyer may become the seller without registering to the shooter. Or maybe it will have passed through 2 hands. But there is a starting point for inquiry. Now the only starting point is if the gun was used in multiple crimes and a pattern emerges.

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        • What percentage of unsolved murders involve this circuitous route?

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        • Chicago – specifically:

          “About the murder clearances, the department calculates the rate two ways. The simple way accounts only for cases closed in the same calendar year in which the murder took place. By that gauge, the police cleared 28.7 percent of last year’s murders. The other calculation — the one preferred by the city — includes clearances of murders committed in previous years, leading to a 2014 rate of 51.8 percent. By either measure, the city’s clearance rate is near its lowest level in decades.”

          There was a time when 85%+ clearance rates were common because most murders were committed by a small circle of friends and family.

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        • So, how does a ballistics registry help solve a crime if the murder weapon was stolen?

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        • That would depend upon the case, obviously. For example, a gun stolen by a stranger in the burglary of an empty home would leave a break in the chain, and that would be a dead end for a typical police investigation.

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        • Aren’t the vast majority of guns in the unsolved murders you’re concerned with a result of burglary I wonder.

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        • “So, how does a ballistics registry help solve a crime if the murder weapon was stolen?”

          It helps finger a perp if a criminal is discovered and has the weapon in his possession, or in his dwelling (if found with a warranted search). The statistical significance of this is not likely to be huge.

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        • Well, wouldn’t there already be ballistics from the bullet that killed the victim? A registry would add nothing.

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        • There’s that. Eh, probably not. Like I said, my objections tend towards the practical: what are the numbers and what is the likely benefit? I don’t see it as being that great, and nobody on the left is going to trust a ballistics DB administered by the NRA (which starts with N, just like Nazi) anyway.

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        • ” If the answer is none, then no ballistics registery will provide any benefit whatsoever.”

          If manufacturers fingerprint the gun, it might, but I imagine some form of changing the ballistics fingerprint akin to filing of the serial # would occur in that event.

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        • The ultimate answer is hi-speed nanobots that essentially make their owner invulnerable to sprays of bullets. Then guns won’t do anybody any good!

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    • One doesn’t even need correlation. There was a sharp drop in homicide rate between 1993 and 1999, but only a modest increase in guns per person. Do you bother looking at graphs before you post them?

      Also, this particular graph skews the data by selecting arbitrary zero level crossings for the y-axis. So, even though the drop in homicides from 1993 to 199 was close to a factor of 2, the rise in gun ownership rate is roughly 20%.

      Along the lines of correlation/causation, there has already been good data showing a correlation between lead and crime.

      BB

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  5. More signs of the coming apocalyse:

    Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research

    Funded by the federal government.

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    • “Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied.”

      The science apparently isn’t completely in. How can we can take any action of climate change without exploring gender discrimination in the production of glaciological knowledge?

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  6. Serious question, is there a level of Immigration restriction that does not make one a racist?

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    • “Serious question, is there a level of Immigration restriction that does not make one a racist?”

      Uh, strictly numerical? With quotas, I guess, so you take in exactly the same # of every federally recognized minority?

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    • Serious question, is there a level of Immigration restriction that does not make one a racist?

      In a rational world, of course. To someone with an axe to grind, there is not.

      You know I favor merit based immigration except for true refugees. I think the open ended “family reunification” that Ds officially favor is ultimately stupid, although it serves their political agenda, apparently. Limit family reunification to spouses and minor children, not parents and siblings. Then make the priority filling slots with people we need at any given time. suck up all the doctors in the third world if necessary. Let entrepreneurs into communities that need innovation. Hell, if there are no Chinese restaurants in a city that wants them, put that on the list.

      Cherry pick, in the national interest.

      Probably am a racist if I write this at PL. F— it.

      Like

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